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Part II Bills of Lading and Other Documents of Carriage, 8 The Bill of Lading as a Document of Title

From: Carriage of Goods by Sea (3rd Edition)

Stephen Girvin

From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 15 June 2024

Bills of lading and carriage of goods — Documents of carriage — Transfer of title

This chapter addresses the bill of lading as a document of title. At common law, bills of lading are documents of title to goods. Accordingly, bills of lading in the accepted form can, by endorsement and delivery, or delivery alone, transfer constructive possession in the goods to the holder. The effect of the transfer of constructive possession to the holder is that the holder of the bill of lading is entitled to physical delivery of the goods at the port of destination and the bill can be used as security for a debt. Documents of title also have a limited statutory meaning. Section 1(4) of the Factors Act 1889, which is incorporated, by reference, in section 61(1) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, provides that ‘the expression “document of title” shall include any bill of lading’. The chapter then looks at the transfer of rights and obligations in bills of lading; the provision under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992; and spent bills of lading.

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